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Cappella Romana Rehearses Arctic Light II

Cappella Romana rehearsing “Psalm 84” by Cyrillus Kreek with renowned Finnish choral director Timo Nuoranne.

The Psalms of Estonian composer Cyrillus Kreek (1889-1962) take a pride of place in “Arctic Light II.” Kreek and his family converted from the Lutheran church to the Orthodox faith in 1896, when Kreek was just seven years old. His psalm settings follow Orthodox forms, which each include a traditional selection of verses along with refrains familiar to Orthodox faithful. Verses from Psalm 84 (LXX 83) heard in the video above are usually sung for a dedication of a church (“How lovely are your dwelling places”).

Kreek also has a special connection to Cappella Romana’s prior work, in that he was a student of composition at the St. Petersburg Conservatory when one of his teachers would have been Maximilian Steinberg, student and son-in-law of Rimsky-Korsakov and composer of the now celebrated Passion Week, of which Cappella Romana gave the world premiere performances and world premiere recording in 2014. Echoes of Steinberg’s compositional voice can be heard in Kreek’s setting of Psalm 137 (LXX 136) “By the waters of Babylon,” which you won’t want to miss on this weekend’s program!

Arctic Light II: Northern Exposure

Renowned Finnish choral director Timo Nuoranne returns to direct glimmering sacred works from Norway, Sweden, Denmark, Finland, and Estonia. With selections from Cappella Romana’s celebrated recording Arctic Light: Finnish Orthodox Music, and a Trisagion in Estonian, Slavonic, and Greek by Erkki-Sven Tüür.

LAKE OSWEGO

Sun 19 Nov, 3:00pm
Marylhurst University

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With selections also by the Marylhurst University Chamber Choir
Justin Smith, director
 

How Timo Nuoranne is coming back to Cappella Romana

Audiences in the Pacific Northwest know Timo Nuoranne from his Cappella Romana debut with Arctic Light in 2014: a concert program that was almost scrapped, as the program’s original director (Fr. Ivan Moody) was forced to cancel his appearance due to a recent injury that prevented him from flying.

The project was a brilliant success, and Timo’s excellent musicianship, commitment, and rapport with the singers was on full display.

Because of Timo’s life-long commitment to the choral music of Finnish composer Einojuhani Rautavaara (1928-2016), we invited him to come back for a project this past January, Rautavaara’s completely peerless All-Night Vigil.

But it was not to be.

Timo had produced the definitive recording of Rautavaara’s All-Night Vigil with the Finnish Radio Chamber Choir, which he directed for many years.

Everything was in place for his second appearance.

But then we hit a major snag. His work visa became mired in a worldwide bureaucratic confusion at the State Department (and its embassies) following the presidential inauguration. After multiple attempts, three airfare rebookings, and personal calls to our government officials, Timo was not able to travel to the United States to direct the Rautavaara concert.

Undaunted, we quickly began to devise a new program that would bring Timo back to the States, directing music that he knows and loves. The result was Arctic Light II: Northern Exposure.

“I am absolutely thrilled that Timo will be leading this music for audiences in the Pacific Northwest,” said Mark Powell, Executive Director of Cappella Romana. “I am half Norwegian myself, and 25 years ago I had the privilege of performing some of this music with the great choral leader, the late Eric Ericson from Sweden.” At that time, Timo was completing his graduate studies with Maestro Ericson in Stockholm. “When Timo first came to work with Cappella Romana we became quick friends over our shared experience with Eric Ericson. I’m so happy that Timo will be back with us again.”

Timo Nuroanne arrives later this week to start rehearsals with Cappella Romana for “Arctic Light II: Northern Exposure.”

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SEATTLE

Fri 17 Nov, 8:00pm
St. James Cathedral
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LAKE OSWEGO

Sun 19 Nov, 3:00pm
Marylhurst University

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With selections also by the Marylhurst University Chamber Choir
Justin Smith, director
 

Rehearsing Tchaikovsky’s Nine Sacred Pieces

Benedict Sheehan, an emerging authority on Russian Orthodox singing and music director at St. Tikhon’s Seminary and Monastery in Pennsylvania, makes his Cappella Romana debut with selections from Tchaikovsky’s groundbreaking All-Night Vigil, Op. 52, and his transcendent Nine Sacred Pieces.

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Meet Benedict Sheehan

Benedict Sheehan

Guest Director October 20-22

Benedict SheehanBenedict Sheehan is a composer, conductor, arranger, writer about, and teacher of, music. He is Director of Music at St. Tikhon’s Orthodox Theological Seminary and Monastery; and, since founding the group in 2015, he has served as Artistic Director of the Chamber Choir of St. Tikhon’s Monastery, a professional vocal ensemble. He is also a frequent clinician and speaker in the field of Orthodox choral singing around the United States.

His musical education includes degrees from Westminster Choir College and Bard College Conservatory of Music, studying conducting under James Bagwell and composition under Kyle Gann. He also has a Master of Divinity from St. Tikhon’s Seminary.

As a conductor, Sheehan has made several recordings with the choirs at St. Tikhon’s, including the debut album of Chamber Choir of St. Tikhon’s Monastery, Till Morn Eternal Breaks: Sacred Choral Music of Benedict Sheehan. In 2014, he made his first conducting appearance at the Richard B. Fisher Center for the Performing Arts with Dawn Upshaw and members of the Bard Graduate Vocal Arts Program. As a writer, Sheehan is a contributor to several online publications, including Orthodox Arts Journal and the Orthodox Christian Network (OCN). His personal blog on the Ancient Faith Ministries platform is called The Music Stand.

A number of his liturgical compositions are currently in print with Musica Russica. His most recent publication, an anthology entitled A Common Book of Church Hymns: Divine Liturgy (2016), is available from St. Tikhon’s Monastery Press.

Upcoming appearances include a Fall 2017 concerts series in Seattle and Portland, conducting noted early music ensemble Cappella Romana; and a performance of one of his new works, The Opening Psalm, by the Kansas City Chorale, in the summer of 2018, conducted by Charles Bruffy. He and his wife Maria, together with their seven daughters, live in northeastern Pennsylvania.

Cappella Romana on Tour in Romania at the Iași Byzantine Music Festival


The Iași Byzantine Music Festival in Romania will present Cappella Romana, the world’s leading proponent of scholarship and performance of Medieval Byzantine Chant, in a concert on September 28, 2017, at 7:00 p.m., in the “Vasile Alecsandri” National Theatre. More information .

Music director Dr. Alexander Lingas will lead a mixed ensemble of men and women in medieval Byzantine chant from Hagia Sophia, music heard for the first time by modern audiences only last autumn, during the ensemble’s residency at Stanford University.

The program will feature medieval Byzantine chant from the nearly forgotten Cathedral Rite of Hagia Sophia, sung from performing editions prepared by Dr. Lingas and the Byzantine musicologists Drs. Ioannis Arvanitis and Spyridon Antonopoulos.

According to the festival website, for five days from September 27 to October 1, 2017, the capital of Byzantine chant will be the city of Iași, where some of the world’s most renowned performers of Byzantine music will perform concerts and religious services.

In addition to Cappella Romana, specializing in medieval Byzantine chant, the festival will also present the Greek Byzantine Choir, Greece; the Choir of the Nea Skiti Monastery, Mount Athos, Greece; the Choir of the Hamatoura Monastery, Lebanon; the “St John Damascene” Choir, Serbia; and multiple choirs and Byzantine chanters from Romania.

“We are thrilled to be invited to this prestigious event,” said Mark Powell, executive director of Cappella Romana. “We are grateful to His Eminence, Teofan, Archbishop of Iași and Metropolitan Bishop of Moldavia and Bukovina, and to Adrian Sîrbu and Ștefan Mihalcea (artistic and executive directors) for their support of Cappella Romana’s tour to the region.”

This is Cappella Romana’s first appearance in Romania.

About Cappella Romana

Its performances “like jeweled light flooding the space” (Los Angeles Times), Cappella Romana is a professional vocal chamber ensemble dedicated to combining passion with scholarship in its exploration of the musical traditions of the Christian East and West, with emphasis on early and contemporary music. Cappella Romana’s name refers to the medieval Greek concept of the Roman oikoumene (inhabited world), which embraced Rome and Western Europe, as well as the Byzantine Empire of Constantinople (“New Rome”) and its Slavic commonwealth.
 
Music Director and Founder Alexander Lingas and Cappella Romana have established themselves as global leaders in the music of the Christian East and West. A presentation by Cappella Romana is an experience unlike any other vocal music concert. Some programs feature ancient music never before heard by modern audiences; on other occasions new or rediscovered works based on ancient models are brought to audiences from leading contemporary composers.

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Christmas in July!

Enjoy a 20% Off discount for Section A and B tickets to our Christmas programs when you use the promo code “ChristmasInJuly” before July 31st!

Byzantine Christmas: The Sun of Justice


Cappella’s Associate Music Director John Michael Boyer directs exhilarating Byzantine chants for Christmastide in Greek, Arabic, and English. Featuring Lebanon-born guest soloist, Rev’d Deacon John (Rassem) El Massih, and the release of a new CD of the program.

The 12 Days of Christmas in the East


Music director Alexander Lingas leads Cappella Romana in a program of early and contemporary music from the Greek Orthodox tradition for the 12 Days of Christmas. Medieval Byzantine chant, choral works by Greek-Americans Frank Desby, Tikey Zes, and Peter MIchaelides, and by Michael Adamis and Sir John Tavener. Originally performed in the Twelfth Night Festival at Trinity Church Wall Street, New York.

SEATTLE

Fri 5 Jan, 8:00pm
St. James Cathedral
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PORTLAND

Sat 6 Jan, 8:00pm
St. Mary’s Cathedral
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From The Desk of Mark Powell

Mark Powell, Executive Director

Dear friend,

Your very own Cappella Romana has had a very good 25th Anniversary year: three European tours (including visits to the UK, Belgium, the Netherlands, and Germany), a week-long residency at Stanford University in the Bay Area with recording sessions of medieval chant from Hagia Sophia, the Arvo Pärt Festival, and the group’s most ambitious Northwest concert series to date, just to name a few highlights.

A highlight for me this year had to have been during our Arvo Pärt Festival. You may not know that I wrote my master’s thesis many years ago on Pärt’s Kanon Pokajanen, and it was the “Prayer after the Kanon” that still somehow caught me completely off-guard. As Cappella Romana sang the final two “Amens,” it was difficult to imagine in that moment any art more piercing to the heart, more perceptive of the human condition. This unspeakably beautiful music ringing out in the cathedral seemed as if it were only for me.

I’m sure you also could share your own Cappella Romana highlight, whether from a recording or live in concert, and I hope you’ll tell us your stories.

Cappella Romana’s work is not an end in itself, but rather serves a higher purpose: to create beautiful, historically informed, transcendent experiences for you through the music of the Christian East and West. And all of this wouldn’t be possible without your support.

Would you make a new gift to the annual fund by June 30th?

Cappella Romana is reaching more audiences than ever before, providing free access through singing liturgical services, local festivals, radio broadcasts, and other outreach. Your giving now provides the base of support that is critical for taking new risks, making new recordings, and accepting invitations to perform all over the world.

Please make your contribution to our annual fund by June 30th and be part of our next chapter, too.

You can make your gift online or by mailing in the reply card enclosed, or by phone (503-236-8202). Monthly giving is also easy to set up. Thank you.

Yours always,

Mark Powell
Executive Director

P.S. Make a gift today to your Cappella Romana. Please also let us know your favorite memory of Cappella Romana when you make your gift. Thank you for your support.

Spyridon Antonopoulos on Medieval Church Acoustics

Dr. Spyridon Antonopoulos

Dr. Spyridon AntonopoulosThe Red Bull Music Academy features an interview with Cappella Romana’s own Dr. Spyridon Antonopoulos and Emma Warren for an exploration of the transcendent impact and contemporary relevance of medieval acoustics:

“‘Kalophonic music was more embellished and abstract,’ explains Antonopoulos. ‘There are entire compositions of just syllables. It’s an evolution where music seems to usurp text for the first time. To me, that demonstrates humans trying to reach this ineffable place, where speech failed. They had to use music.’ This, he says, is an example of humans trying to unify themselves to the cosmos, when speech is no longer sufficient. It’s what devotional music is all about. ‘This change happens when the massive urban basilicas of Late Antiquity begin to yield to smaller domed churches. Did these spaces respond? Did the music respond? We know there’s a relationship.’”

See the full feature and interview on RedBullMusicAcademy.com

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